Jan 25, 2014 at 7pm UK at ​Mestalla
Valencia
2-2
Espanyol
Alcacer (7'), Jonas (32')
Romeu (9'), Mathieu (44'), Jonas (56')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Cordoba (3'), Garcia (45' pen.)

Live Commentary: Valencia 2-2 Espanyol - as it happened

Espanyol head coach Javier Aguirre reacts on the touchline during the match against Valencia on August 24, 2013
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the Mestalla where Valencia drew 2-2 with Espanyol.

Saturday's penultimate La Liga clash pitted Valencia against Espanyol at the Mestalla.

The visitors had the lead early on through Jhon Cordoba, but goals from Paco Alcacer and Jonas left Valencia 2-1 ahead.

Espanyol levelled in the latter stages of the first period, however, when Sergio Garcia converted from the penalty spot.

Both sides had opportunities in an open second half, but neither could score a third as the points were shared.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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6.31pmEvening all! The first of our back-to-back live La Liga commentaries comes from the Mestalla as Valencia welcome Espanyol. The home side have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions, with that run of form seeing them drop to ninth in La Liga and bow out of the Copa del Rey. Espanyol, however, have lost three of their last five in all competitions.

6.34pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, both have won two of the last five matches, with the further fixture ending in a draw. Espanyol were 3-1 winners in the corresponding match earlier in the season, but Valencia did pick up all three points the last time they welcomed Espanyol to this stadium in November 2012.

6.37pmTEAMS:

VALENCIA: Alves; Joao, R. Costa, Mathieu, Guardado; Romeu, Parejo; Jonas, Banega, Piatti; Alcacer

ESPANYOL: Casilla; J. Lopez, Colotto, Moreno, Fuentes; Abraham, Sanchez; Stuani, Simao, Garcia; Cordoba


6.40pmSo there we have it. Ever Banega comes into the Valencia XI this evening, while there are also starts for Joao Pereira, Oriol Romeu and Paco Alcacer. Helder Postiga and Sofiane Feghouli, however, are on the bench. Espanyol, meanwhile, are as expected with Jhon Cordoba leading their line with support from skipper Sergio Garcia. Experienced midfielder Simao also starts for the visitors.

6.43pmIn truth, it has been a difficult season for Valencia thus far. They were expected to challenge for the top four or at least a place in the Europa League, but it hasn’t quite worked out. They have won just seven of their 20 matches, drawing three and losing 10. That run of form has left them in ninth position in the table on 24 points.

6.46pmTheir home form has been disappointing with four defeats from their 10 matches, which is significantly more than the teams they were expected to challenge. They have also won just twice on the road, losing six times in the process. A top-eight finish is in their sights, but they are also just five points from 17th position with 18 matches to play.

6.49pmGoals have also been a slight concern for Valencia this season with just 26 in their 20 matches, with Jonas scoring eight times. Espanyol, meanwhile, have found the back of the net on 23 occasions in the league. Down the other end, Espanyol have conceded just 25 times, while Valencia have conceded 31, although they have kept seven clean sheets in the process.

6.52pmEspanyol, meanwhile, currently sit in eighth position in the table on 25 points. They made an extremely positive start to the season, but have tailed off in the last couple of weeks. That said, they were 1-0 winners over Celta Vigo in their last league match. Like Valencia, a couple of positive results could see them move into the top seven, but a run of poor form could put them in trouble.

6.55pmEspanyol’s away form has been fairly disappointing this season with five defeats from their nine matches, but they have also lost four times on their own patch. When Javier Aguirre took charge little more than 12 months ago, the Barcelona-based outfit were in deep trouble, but a top-half finish could be on the cards this time around.

6.58pmPREDICTION: I have a feeling that we could be in for a classic here. Both managers have selected attacking lineups and neither has been the best defensively this season. That said, I expect Valencia to claim all three points with a narrow win. My score prediction is 3-1 Valencia.

1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Let's hope for an attacking affair at the Mestalla. The home side get the action underway.

2 minJust short of a full house inside the stadium this evening, but there is a strong atmosphere, which is not a surprise. The Mestalla is a wonderful football arena. As expected, the home side have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes.

3 minYou just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive in this type of match. It is a still evening and the pitch is in perfect condition. Valencia start this match as the favourites, but they must start putting together a run of results.

3 minGOAL! Valencia 0-1 Espanyol (Cordoba)

4 minOh my good grief what a strike from Cordoba. It's poor defending from Valencia as the Colombian is allowed to collect possession outside the box before thumping one into the top corner. Stunning from the 20-year-old.

6 minWell, that is not quite the start that Pizzi would have wanted from his side. It has dampened the crowd, which is exactly what Espanyol would have wanted at this stage of proceedings. Valencia break down the other end with Piatti moments later, but his low cross is cleared by Colotto at the vital moment.

7 minIt has been a positive response from the home side with Guardado twice delivering deep crosses into the box, but Moreno and Lopez take it in turns to clear the danger. It is the away supporters that can be heard with seven minutes on the clock. Valencia need some inspiration in these early moments.

7 minGOAL! Valencia 1-1 Espanyol (Alcacer)

8 minValencia level with seven minutes on the clock as Alcacer is allowed to drift into the Espanyol box before finishing from close range. Poor defending from Espanyol. What an opening eight minutes to this match.

11 minHardly time to take a breath at the moment as both sides continue to force the issue in the final third. A poor challenge from Valencia midfielder Romeu hands Espanyol a free kick just outside the box, but Simao's delivery is cleared by Alves. Neither side is too interested in defending at the moment.

13 minNot too much to report in terms of opportunities in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third. Meanwhile, the referee has been more involved than he would have liked due to a number of late challenges. Still 1-1 with 13 minutes on the clock.

15 minGood pressure from Valencia as Jonas finds some space on the left before delivering a low cross towards Alcacer, but Javi Lopez is on hand to clear at the vital moment. The resulting corner eventually falls to Parejo, but his effort is straight at Colotto. Not too much from Espanyol since they took an early lead in the Mestalla.

17 minJust a reminder that there have already been two matches in La Liga today with Real Madrid beating Granada 2-0 to move top of the table and Real Valladolid overcoming Villarreal 1-0. Following this match, we have action from Seville as Sevilla welcome Levante - be sure to remain with us for that one.

20 minThe intensity has dropped following a lively start with neither really forcing the issue in the final third. Jonas attempts to force the issue for the home side as he finds some space on the edge of the box, but Colotto is across to clear, before Mathieu is forced to challenge Stuani down the other end. Still goalless with 20 minutes on the clock.

22 minThe crowd has been almost silenced following a period of untidiness, but Espanyol have started to take control of the possession in the final third. Sergio Garcia has a half-chance for the away side as he spins on the edge of the box, but his effort is just wide of the post. Little over 20 minutes of the first period remaining at the Mestalla.

24 minHalf-chance for the home side as Jonas finds some space inside the box before chipping one towards the far corner, but Casilla is on hand to collect. The Brazilian had two shooting opportunities, but decided to look for Alcacer. That has been the story of the last 15 minutes or so. Both have struggled to find that elusive pass in the final third of the field.

26 minCordoba continues to run the lines for Espanyol, but the Colombian forward has been left isolated in the last few moments. Cordoba does have a half-chance moments later following bright work from Garcia, but Pereira is on hand to clear at the vital moment. Good spell for the visitors.

28 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to take the lead as Guardado slides a through pass towards Alcacer, who takes one touch into the box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Moreno is across to make a last-ditch challenge. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

31 minBoth managers are out on the touchline issuing instructions as the first period continues to gather pace. Espanyol gain a free kick just outside the box moments later when Costa fells Garcia. The resulting set piece is taken by Simao, but his delivery is headed clear by Pereira. Poor quality from the Portuguese.

32 minYou can sense the frustration from the home supporters as another Valencia attack breaks down in the final third. Guardado continues to impress as he drives down the left before delivering towards Jonas, but Moreno is on hand to clear.

32 minGOAL! Valencia 2-1 Espanyol (Jonas)

33 minValencia take the lead after 32 minutes as Jonas rises highest inside the box to place his header into the bottom corner following a corner from Parejo. The turnaround is complete.

35 minHalf-chance for the away side as Victor Sanchez finds some space outside the box before attempting to curl one towards the top corner, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Moments later, Cordoba is denied by a last-ditch challenge from Pereira.

38 minAnother half-chance for Espanyol as Colotto meets a corner from Simao, but his header is cleared off the line by Costa at the vital moment. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could decide the match. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining.

40 minJust a reminder that following this match we have action from Sevilla against Levante - be sure to remain with us for that one. At the Mestalla, Valencia still lead 2-1 in the latter stages of the half. Slightly untidy period in the last couple of moments in terms of late challenges and loose passing.

42 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Valencia to score their third as Pereira finds the head of Alcacer inside the box, but the striker can only glance his effort wide of the post. Espanyol just need to be a little bit careful in the latter stages of this half.

44 minThe tempo has dropped in the last couple of moments with both sides almost waiting for the half-time whistle. Neither manager will be too disappointed with what they have seen thus far. A deep free kick from Parejo threatens to harm Casilla moments later, but it just moves over the Espanyol crossbar.

44 minPENALTY ESPANYOL!

45 minEspanyol are awarded a penalty in the latter stages of the first period as Mathieu fells Cordoba inside the box. Stonewall penalty.

45 minGOAL! Valencia 2-2 Espanyol (Garcia)

45+1 minEspanyol indeed level in first-half stoppage time as Garcia fires his effort into the top corner. What a 45 minutes we have had at the Mestalla.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Valencia 2-2 Espanyol

7.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 2-2. Espanyol were ahead in the early stages through Cordoba, but goals from Alcacer and Jonas left Valencia with a 2-1 lead. Espanyol levelled in the latter stages of the first period, however, when Garcia converted from the penalty spot.

7.52pmSTATISTICS: The home side have dominated the possession with 63%, while they have had eight attempts - three of which have been on target - to Espanyol's seven. In truth, a 2-2 draw at this stage of proceedings is just about a fair reflection of what we have seen in the Mestalla.

7.57pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Helder Postiga, Feghouli, Dorlan Pabon and Fede Cartabia. Meanwhile, Espanyol have the likes of Pizzi, Victor Alvarez and Torje in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive in terms of the final result. Right, the away side get the second 45 minutes underway.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise. However, I suspect both managers will consider altering proceedings if the score remains level for the next 20 minutes or so. The home side have taken control of the possession in the early exchanges.

50 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Valencia to take the lead as Pereira drives a dangerous cross towards Alcacer, who flicks his effort into the box, but Piatti cannot make contact with Moreno on hand to clear at the vital moment. Espanyol break down the other end with Garcia moments later, but his cross is into the arms of Alves.

53 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Espanyol to take the lead as Garcia finds himself unmarked in the Valencia box following smart work from Cordoba, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Opportunities at either end in the early stages of the second period at the Mestalla.

55 minCHANCE! The end-to-end period of the match brings another chance for the home side as Alcacer collects a loose ball inside the box before attempting to find the top corner, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Little over 35 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

57 minCHANCE! Victor Sanchez has the opportunity to put Espanyol into the lead this time as he combines with Garcia before attempting to test Alves, but Mathieu is across to block at the final moment. Hardly time to take a breath at the moment as the end-to-end period continues.

60 minWe are getting to the stage of the match where both managers will be thinking about changes. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive in terms of the final result. Neither team is in control, however, with both enjoying positive spells.

62 minBig penalty shout for the home side as Fuentes appears to handle inside the box, but the referee is not interested. The home supporters are not too pleased with that decision that is for certain. Valencia do have a free kick outside the box moments later, but they make their first change just before Mathieu strikes into the wall as Michel replaces Banega.

64 minEspanyol force the issue with a couple of crosses into the Valencia box, but Mathieu and Costa take it in turns to clear the danger. The danger continues with a corner from Simao, but Cordoba cannot rise under pressure from Guardado. Little over 25 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

66 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Valencia as Guardado finds the head of Piatti with a brilliant cross, but Sanchez is across to block at the final moment. Brilliant defending from the Spaniard. I would be astounded if there was not another goal in this match.

68 minSlightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments with the referee more involved than he would have liked due to a number of late challenges. The home supporters continue to make their voices known as the chances arrive at both ends. It has been a pulsating 68 minutes of La Liga football at the Mestalla.

71 minCHANCE! It's brilliant from Cordoba as the Espanyol forward drives past Costa before advancing into the Valencia box, but he can only roll his effort wide of the post. He has been just terrific this evening.

73 minThe opportunities continue to arrive as Pareja finds some space inside the Espanyol box before facing up to Casilla, but the Valencia defender just loses control at the vital moment and Casilla is on hand to clear. Little over 15 minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

75 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of losing possession too easily in the final third. Valencia look to their bench for the first time moments later as Canales replaces Parejo. You just get the feeling that there will be a winner in the final stages of this match.

78 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Piatti finds some space down the left before delivering a low cross into the box, but Colotto is on hand to clear at the vital moment. The pressure continues with two corners in quick succession, but Espanyol quell the danger on each occasion.

81 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Valencia as Michel collects possession outside the box before striking towards the top corner, but Casilla is across to make a fine save. The resulting corner also causes concern inside the Espanyol box, but the whistle from the referee stops proceedings.

83 minEspanyol make their first change of the match as Spanish midfielder Alex enters the field in place of Cordoba, which is a surprise. The Colombian has been the star of the show this evening. Little over five minutes of the second period remaining. Is there to be a winner?

85 minValencia make their second change of the match as Pabon enters the field in place of Alcacer, who scored his first league goal of the season in the first half. The home side have certainly made the more positive changes in the second period. A goal at this stage would surely be enough to win it.

88 minIt's bright work from Pereira as the Valencia right-back drives into the Espanyol box before attempting to test Casilla, but his effort is blocked by Moreno. Espanyol break down the other end with Garcia moments later, but the skipper is left isolated in the final third. Little over two minutes of this La Liga contest remaining.

90+1 minEspanyol look to their bench once more as Simao is replaced by Victor Alvarez. The away side are seemingly settling for a point here. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed the first of those. Is there to be a late winner?

90+3 minThe home side continue to force the issue with a series of deep crosses into the Espanyol box, but the away side clear on each occasion. The away side make their third and final change moments later as Abraham is replaced by Rodriguez.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Valencia 2-2 Espanyol

8.48pmSo there we have it. Valencia's modest home form continues as they draw 2-2 with Espanyol at the Mestalla. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Sevilla against Levante. Until then!

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the opener during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg football match against Espanyol on January 21, 2014
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1Real Sociedad11003213
2Leganes11001013
3Valencia11001013
4Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
5GironaGirona10102201
6Espanyol10101101
7Sevilla10101101
8Athletic Bilbao00000000
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15Real Betis00000000
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18Celta Vigo100123-10
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20Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
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